Connection Between Trauma and Addiction

trauma and addiction

It’s inescapable. That’s how it feels at least. The dread of it all just sort of ever-present in one way or another.

The American Psychological Association describes trauma as an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, rape or natural disaster. That’s not the end of it though. After initial feelings of denial subside, you find that the trauma lingers. Incessantly.

It causes flashbacks, stresses relationships to the breaking point and can manifest itself physically in the form of headaches or nausea. 

Dealing with it is not easy but people find ways to cope, especially with the help of a professional treatment center.

What Is the Connection Between Trauma and Addiction?

The sad reality of our world is that trauma is not a rare phenomenon, numerous studies have shown that through the course of our lives, 51% of women and 61% of men will have had a traumatic experience.

Worse yet, experiencing trauma as a child has been linked to substance use disorders. The results of one study showed that in a sample of highly traumatized people, rates of dependency on drugs and alcohol were particularly high.

Data from 17,000 patients in another study by Kaiser Permanente showed that if a child experienced more than 4 traumatic events they’d be 5 times more likely to end up an alcoholic, 60% more likely to become obese and 46 times more like to use injectable drug.

And that’s the thing, substance abuse doesn’t happen in a vacuum and addiction isn’t something people just fall into by chance. Often there’s a motivator and addiction is, in many ways, a symptom of deeper-seated painful experience. A way by which the user can “escape” the hold of it, if only for a brief moment in time. 

Traumas bury themselves deep in the psyche and will torment us until we face them or they destroy us.

It doesn’t have to be the latter.

Addressing Trauma in Substance Abuse Treatment

Fortunately, there are options out there to manage trauma and substance abuse at the same time. In some ways, it’s part of the whole recovery process, addressing substance abuse requires working through the trauma that preceded it. There’s no safer place to unpack that than in the warm embrace and with the oversight and guidance of caring professionals.

This breaks down into a few methods, trauma-informed, trauma-specific and dual diagnosis. The National Trauma Consortium lays out the basics of the first two:

Trauma-Informed Services consider “knowledge about trauma—its impact, interpersonal dynamics, and paths to recovery—and incorporate this knowledge thoroughly in all aspects of service delivery.”

Trauma-Specific Services have a more focused primary goal “to address directly the impact of trauma on people’s lives and to facilitate trauma recovery and healing”.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment generally encompasses the same ideas as above and means that someone with substance abuse is also dealing with mental illness. Trauma can, of course, present itself as any type of mental illness, be it; depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, anxiety, etc. the way our minds deal with and process these experiences is unique to each individual.

A dual diagnosis, or a co-occurring disorder, treatment regimen works to treat both aspects. To truly kick the addiction to drugs or alcohol once and for all, it requires properly dealing with the trauma you’ve experienced, otherwise, you’re just setting yourself up for a potential relapse.

How to Get Help With Addiction

Help with substance abuse and the trauma that led you or your friend or family member down the road to addiction is only a call away. At Newport Beach Recovery Center in Orange County, we have a combined 30+ years of experience getting their lives back, both physically and mentally. Reach out to us and let us know how to help.

Outpatient Addiction Treatment: Who is this for?

outpatient addiction treatment

When someone is suffering from drug or alcohol addiction, they might think they can break this addiction on their own. Sadly, addiction is something that impacts countless people across the country and is only getting worse. While it’s important to be self-motivated, it’s also important to know when to ask for help. It can be a challenge for someone to get clean and stay sober, This is why seeking professional help is so important. 

There are multiple options for those who are looking to access addiction treatment and start the recovery process. The most common forms of treatment are detox, residential, and outpatient. Detox helps rid your body of drugs and alcohol, residential treatment removes you from society for a period of time, and then there’s outpatient. There are multiple resources available once people transition back into society after becoming sober; however, it’s important to know the basics of outpatient treatment.

What is Outpatient Addiction Treatment?

Outpatient addiction treatment is a program that takes place outside of an inpatient setting. Group therapy and individual therapy are offered during outpatient treatment. Outpatient is offered as a treatment option after someone completes inpatient treatment or as a stand-alone treatment option. If someone has daily life obligations like taking care of a child or working, outpatient treatment is a good option for them. 

Outpatient programs come in a variety of formats and differ in their levels of intensity. Two common programs are IOP (intensive outpatient program) and OP (outpatient program). The focus in an outpatient program is going to be on counseling and support. If someone also needs help finding a job during recovery, the outpatient program can help them do this. 

How is it Different from Other Forms of Treatment?

There are a few significant differences that set outpatient programs apart from other options. The biggest difference is that people are not spending the night at an outpatient program. Instead, clients go home after they leave the session. This means that people are able to resume their lives once they enter into an outpatient program. They will have autonomy during this process. They can spend time with their family members and friends. They can go to work.

At the same time, there is a certain level of responsibility associated with outpatient treatment. The client is responsible for showing up to treatment. There also isn’t as much supervision as in the inpatient world. People will be responsible for coping with cravings and not succumbing to temptation. Without this supervision, there is a real risk of a relapse taking place. A lot of outpatient therapy is going to focus on developing the coping skills that are necessary to maintain sobriety in society.

Who is this Beneficial For?

Generally speaking, anyone who is struggling or struggled with substance abuse can benefit from outpatient therapy. With that being said, every addiction is different and is treated so. Everyone who enters inpatient treatment for addiction is going to have sessions with an outpatient provider. People who have been sober for years can still see an outpatient provider regularly to make sure they maintain sobriety.

Something great about outpatient treatment is that it evolves over time. Some people might start by spending an entire day in programs. They participate in group counseling, ongoing therapy, art and music therapy, and one on one treatment sessions. 

Then, people may reduce their time with a counselor three times a week, then once a week. The road to recovery is a long process and shouldn’t be rushed. Outpatient treatment is a great way to get sober and acclimated to society again. 

Let our Outpatient Program Help You

At Newport Beach Recovery Center, we’re a professional drug and alcohol rehab program located in Costa Mesa, CA. Our program tailors its approach to meet the individual needs of our patients. We would be happy to do the same for you. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you with addiction treatment.